yoga

Don’t Just Stand There. Get Moving

By: Jen Champion

We have the power to heal and transform from the challenges we encounter. However, when our physical and mental patterns and habits do not support whole quality health, we can feel out of balance and ill. Our bodies develop grooves of anxiety, pain, and beliefs that keep us stuck in our dramas and traumas. If we do not take the time and steps to heal, prolonged stress creates chronic activation of the fight/flight response.

There are many places where we can feel tension. Often the head, neck, shoulders, and back alert us. The muscles, connective tissue, and nerves are intertwined, and at times, it’s hard to tell precisely where the pain originates. One section in the body, often unnoticed and holding tension, is called the psoas (so as) muscles. The psoas has many intricate details. I will speak briefly about them and list a few excellent resources for you to investigate.

The psoas are a group of deep muscles that often contract during times of stress, and they are like to stay contracted for some time once energized. They originate in the middle of the back and run down each side of the low back, pelvis, inner thighs, and hips. 

 

The psoas are continuously in use. The muscles participate in our daily actions, including standing, walking, running, and sitting. When they tighten and shorten, it leads to discomfort in various body parts. Pain can be present in the hips, groin, abdomen, and low back if the lumbar spine curve is too big or small.

Don’t just stand there, get moving. Gentle movements and releasing tensions in the psoas help eliminate the stress and pain. One way to lengthen the psoas is to walk with a short conscious gait. A constructive rest pose is a restorative approach. Lay on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the floor hip-width apart and parallel. Place your heels at a comfortable distance from your buttocks. Breathe and Rest. Lifting the sternum, relaxing the shoulders, and taking deep breaths can also affect the relaxation response in the psoas.

A yoga practice will assist people in gaining presence and patience to move tension out of the body and open to a more fulfilling life.

Yoga improves the core stability in the torso and pelvis and helps the psoas function optimally. Balance in the psoas and abdominal core muscles helps maintain the natural curve of the lumbar spine, neutral pelvic alignment, and good posture. When we are in a stable comfortable position, our breathing capacity improves. With optimal breathing (deep, smooth, even, continuous and quiet), we gain a more profound recognition of how to move with comfort and ease on and off the yoga mat. We feel better physically and enhance our self-esteem. Good physical and mental health make life more enjoyable.

When we move and shape our bodies with patience and awareness, we can change our breath, thoughts, and patterns and live a more fulfilling life.

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International Yoga Day

By: Jen Champion

Vista Wellness Center will feature a free gentle yoga practice for the community on International Yoga Day, June 21, 2022. This is our local celebration in conjunction with hundreds of events worldwide. 

International Yoga Day is the official United Nations promotion of individual global health, harmony, and peace. This event’s origins date to 2015, when nearly 36,000 people, including political figures worldwide, performed 21 yoga postures for 35 minutes in New Delhi.

The event calls for the practice of joy in movement, compassion, kindness, and experiencing togetherness among all cultures. We can grow to recognize the kindness inherent in each of us and help strengthen the bonds that bring people together. Set an intention today to find value in everyone. Make a conscious effort to uphold and respect each other. Foster self-care and worth to help build individual resilience and strengthen our local and global communities.

Yoga helps people gain positive momentum toward good health and act from a place of friendliness and compassion. We can better realize our unlimited potential of self and our collective consciousness to support whole health throughout the whole world.

Join Instructor, Jen Champion and enjoy supportive yoga guidance in a safe place: 4-5 pm, Vista Wellness Center, 1531 Pearl Street, Eugene

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Join us November 13th for a Celebration for World Kindness Day

Join us for a fun outdoor celebration of World Kindness Day, Saturday November 13th at 12pm-2pm.

This will be held outside of our Wellness Center (1531 Pearl St), rain or shine.

Join Jen Champion and friends  for yoga tips, guided meditation, and a sound meditation

There will also be raffles for prizes as well as tea and snacks.

Contact: jchampion@vistapsych.com with any questions

 

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Reduce Stress with This Breathing Technique

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Reducing Stress and Strengthening the Relaxation Response

By Jen Champion

We have all experienced stress, whether the media is sharing the news or the traffic jam has you late for a job interview. It is important to note our personal experience and how we relate to it, so we can then respond skillfully. We need to be in charge of our responses to stress and our actions around it. 

We need the natural physical reactions stress creates to remain safe from harm and move forward in certain situations. But too much stress can lead to negative responses.  We cannot cope easily and become exhausted and ill. The good news is, when our nervous system is in balance, we can maintain or regain optimum health and well-being.

Our Sympathetic nervous system can be referred to as the gas pedal, and the Parasympathetic is the brake. When the pedal is to the metal, we go too fast, have difficulty navigating obstacles, and we eventually run out of gas. When the brake is on for too long, we cannot move and get stuck; stagnation also causes stress. We want to travel at a speed that allows us to be engaged in the curves and landscapes and not be dizzied by them. When our scenery is constantly blurred by things out of our control, we cannot appreciate the sea’s waves or snow-capped peaks, let alone go with the flow. We write negative self-narratives and push through sensations of fatigue and pain without even recognizing we are doing it.  

We need to have balance in our systems so our bodies can differentiate between good and bad stress to function optimally. We can then identify stress triggers and skillfully approach the situation to balance the gas and brake pedals. An excellent place to start is learning and practicing techniques from yoga traditions that begin with breath training. The yogis believe the breath is the link between the body and mind, where one can cultivate energy to charge or calm areas of the mind, body, and emotions to be in harmony with self and nature.I am here to help us learn how to become more aware of ourselves and take the appropriate action to move in and out of stress with more flexibility and ease. I will share techniques to help us create balance in our lives.  

Breathing Technique

In this breathing practice, we begin to rest and will then move our bodies to help create awareness, release tension, and strengthen the relaxation response.

  • Sit on a chair with your feet on the surface below you. Hands rest on your legs. Close your eyes and become aware that you are breathing. Keep your awareness at the tips of your nostrils and breathe with your lips gently closed. 
  • Begin to connect with the following five qualities of breath. 
    • Deep 
    • Smooth 
    • Even 
    • Quiet 
    • Continuous. 
  • When you breathe in, feel your abdomen expand and follow the awareness in the expansion in your lungs. As you Inhale, feel and hear the word “nourish.”  As you exhale, release breath awareness from your lungs through your abdomen and feel and hear the word “relax.” 
  • Repeat for one minute. (You can grow your practice into longer segments when you feel ready).
  • Mindful Movements can increase circulation throughout the body, improve posture and balance, restore vitality and rejuvenate the body and mind. One way to practice this is to coordinate your breath with your movement.
  • Begin to ground and connect with stability in your core (your muscles that stabilize your trunk and allow for balance and movement) 
  • Relate to our core like this:
    • Stand on your bare feet on a nonslip surface, carpet, or yoga mat.
    • Press your feet firmly into the surface below you. Activate your legs and lower abdominal muscles and maintain a smooth, deep, even breathe
    • Maintain this activation and begin to move.
      • Sun Breath Arms: Inhale and lift your arms overhead. Exhale and lower your arms. The amount of time it takes for your complete inhale is the amount of time it should take you to move your arms overhead or to where you can comfortably get them. Same on the exhale. Sense a warmth and comfort surrounding you.
      • Circle of Joy: Inhale and place your hands together in the center of your chest. Exhale and interlace your fingers and press palms down and straighten your arms. Inhale, lift your interlaced fingers and arms overhead. Exhale and release fingers and arms to sides with a smile and an audible sigh. Repeat 5 times. Invite joy into your life and send it to others.
      • Seated Forward Fold: Sit on a chair with your feet firmly placed on the floor. Activate core muscles and breathe deeply. Inhale and lift your arms overhead. Exhale and hinge forward from the hips, let your arms open beside you and move to rest your forearms and elbows on your thighs. Bring your palms together, dip your chin slightly towards your chest. Breathe and relax. Stay for one minute and then inhale and slowly rise up. Sense a feeling of introversion and respect towards self.

 

Join our online yoga classes to help you create self-awareness, control stress, and maneuver obstacles with ease. Learn how to fill your tank with vitality, cruise, and enjoy the scenery and your life.

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